So. I flew a plane today. I had my first flying lesson with Certificated Flight Instructor (or CFI for short) Skip Bentley. I arrived at Page Field Airport (FMY) in Fort Myers at around 4:45 pm and after a few minutes of a briefing we were in the hangar doing an actual preflight inspection on N3521Q, a Cessna 172.
Here I am standing in front of a machine that will make my childhood dream come true. With the preflight inspection, I make sure the plane is taken care of, so it can take care of me. Skip and I walk around the plane, showing me everything that needs to be checked before every flight, letting me know that I will soon be doing these preflight inspections by myself. But don’t worry, there is a list, pilots love lists.
After a successful preflight inspection, we are satisfied that N3521Q is safe to fly; we pull the plane out of the hangar, do a few more checks, and turn on the engine. I quickly learn that the wind created by the propeller is very real, pushing the doors of the plane closed.
While the plane is on the ground, you keep your hands off the yoke. Planes are not cars. You steer with your feet using the rudder pedals in a plane. I already knew this and it wasn’t hard for me to fight the urge to steer with my hands while taxiing (moving the plane on the ground). Skip kept his feet on the pedals with me, but I did most of the taxiing to runway 23. Just short of the runway we pulled over and he explained what was going to happen, he took this time because I was going to make this plane leave the ground. Another check of our critical systems before crossing the runway threshold line. I line it up with the center. Skip tells me that when we reach 55 knots I’m going to lift the nose off the ground and shortly after that, we are going lift the rest of the plane too! Before I knew it, I was in the air with a giant smile on my face. I made a plane take off.
While in the air we practiced the very foundation of flying, straight and level flight which is exactly what it sounds like. The plane is not turning left or right and it’s not climbing or descending. I also practiced climbing turns, descending turns, how to trim the plane.
After a few minutes of turning to a desired heading he pointed out the rotating beacon in the distance. I asked if that was FMY, and he said no, that was Punta Gorda Airport (PGD). I had forgotten how fast planes go, even little ones with only one engine.
They say that learning to fly is easy, learning to land is the hard part. Today I did two of about a million more landings to come. The first landing was a special landing, called a touch and go. Where, once again just like it sounds, you land, and quickly take off again without coming to a full stop. The landing looked good, Skip did have to remind me to push in the throttle all the way. There I was again, taking off a second time in less than an hour. We flew around the airport and came in for one more landing. He helped me line the plane up with the center line of the runway, but he said I was a good student.
Taxiing towards the Alpha hangars using taxiway A4 from runway 23 (remember using your feet) I bring N3521Q to her resting spot for the evening. Skip calls for a fuel top off, we do a post flight on our Cessna 172 and push the plane in for the night. At this point, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.
I flew a plane today, and yes, I loved it.
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Just the numbers:
Total Hours: 0.7
Total Dual: 0.7
Total Solo: 0.0